The work of the IETF is undertaken and supported by a wide variety of groups with differing structures, goals, and responsibilities.
While the technical work in the IETF is primarily undertaken in working groups as part of the IETF standards development process, other groups, including those described below, provide support for and help organize this work. These groups provide administrative oversight for the IETF, help select individuals to serve in leadership roles, and develop the tools and services used as part of the IETF standards process.
Working Groups (WGs) are the primary mechanism for development of IETF specifications and guidelines, many of which are intended to be standards or recommendations.
The Internet Architecture Board provides long-range technical direction for Internet standards, ensuring the Internet continues to grow and evolve as a platform for global communication and innovation.
The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) is responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process.
The Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) promotes research of importance to the evolution of the Internet by creating focused, long-term Research Groups working on topics related to Internet protocols, applications, architecture and technology.
The IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) is responsible for the fiscal and administrative support of the IETF standards process.
The IETF Trust was created to acquire, hold, and maintain intellectual property and other property used in connection with Internet standards.
The Nominating Committee or, as it is typically known, the NomCom, exists to review open IESG, IAB and IAOC positions and to nominate a candidate for each.
The IETF Tools Team is a group of volunteers from the IETF community that develops tools to support the work of the IETF itself.
IETF Directorates, comprised of experienced IETF participants, often serve as advisory groups for IETF work.